TRIBUTES have poured in for veteran Highland Lib-Dem politician John Farquhar Munro, who has died aged 79.
The former MSP was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, when it was established, to represent the seat of Ross, Skye and Lochalsh.
He took a major role is helping bring an end to the controversial Skye Bridge Tolls, as well as Gaelic, land reform and crofting issues.
He died at home in Glen Shiel, Lochalsh, on Sunday, after a period of ill health compounded by fracturing a hip in a fall last week.
He was sent home from hospital to be with his wife Celia, daughter Teresa and son Duncan in his final hours.
First Minister Alex Salmond led the tributes, saying: “My thoughts and condolences are with John Farquhar Munro’s wife and family at this sad time.
“John Farquhar was an outstanding champion for the Highlands and leaves an impressive legacy on issues such as land reform, crofting and Gaelic. He was a tireless campaigner and played a central role in opposing and ultimately securing the removal of the Skye Bridge tolls.
“John Farquhar Munro was always his own man, campaigning beyond party loyalties, which is one reason he will be remembered with respect and affection right across the political spectrum.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said: “John F was a canny, crafty Highlander who calmly asserted his place in the political world. His roots in crofting and the west Highlands gave the strength and depth to endure the trials of politics.
“Delivering the right status for Gaelic, protecting crofting and abolishing the Skye bridge tolls are just a few of his many achievements in public life.
“His character and personality attracted friends from across politics. Our thoughts are with his wife Celia, who was a tower of strength in all he did, and all his friends and family.”
Former party leader in Scotland Lord Nicol Stephen said: “John Farquhar was a Highlander with a big character.
“He always had a twinkle in his eye and campaigned to great effect on all the big issues facing the islands and the north of Scotland.
“I’ll never forget when I was Transport Minister, staying overnight with him and his wife Celia before announcing the abolition of the tolls on the Skye Bridge.
“You could tell by his smile, that day was one of the crowning moments of his long political career. He will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most popular and well liked politicians the area has ever known.”
Highland MP Danny Alexander said: “John Farquhar was a liberal to his core, who brought his Highland values and the wisdom of the gael to everything he did.
“His role in the abolition of the Skye Bridge tolls cemented his reputation as a vociferous campaigner.
“At one time he was father to the house of the Scottish Parliament, but he has always been a father of liberalism in the Highlands.
“He showed me enormous kindness and support as a candidate and as MP and it was a privilege to work with him for the Highlands. He will be very sadly missed.
“My thoughts are with his wife, Celia, and his extended family.”
Mr Munro was born in 1934 and attended Plockton High School before spending a decade as a merchant marine.
He then became self-employed, running his own haulage company. He also worked as a bus operator, quarrying contractor and crofter.
He held the post of councillor for his home ward for 33 years before being elected to the Scottish Parliament, then the oldest MSP.